Health & Safety – Ignoring It Will Close Your Business
Occupational health and safety and public health and safety are two areas that have become increasingly important, but also easier to manage, in recent years. There has been an increase in awareness of Health and Safety concerns in the general public and employees.
The increasingly litigious cultural atmosphere has brought health and safety to the forefront of most public and business decisions. This has been paralleled, however, by a growth in the availability of health and safety professionals, and also in better and more detailed health and safety information on the Internet. More help is available at http://www.health-safety-now.info.
Occupational health and safety measures can take many forms – from the management of physical risk in your place of work, to employee health and safety concerns about noise or stress levels.
The important thing for businesses is to have a plan for every possible health and safety situation that could arise, or that all could be feasibly predicted anyway.
Depending on your business area, there may be an organization that monitors the health and safety in your workplace – this particularly applies to dangerous locations such as railways, nuclear installations and mines, and to workplaces involved with vulnerable people, such as nursery schools, care homes and hospitals.
The occupational health and safety of these businesses will probably be monitored and checked regularly by an independent organization.
If such a group does not cover your place of work, it is recommended that you invest in a professional health and safety inspection. Alternatively you could appoint a permanent group of occupational health and safety experts, depending on the size and needs of your enterprise.
Public health and safety may be monitored by a government agency, or independent health and safety professionals may be employed to judge the health and safety of a prospective project or place of work.
Public health and safety should take into account both the health and safety of the public sector employees and of members of the general population whose health and safety may be affected by a project.
I guess nobody likes thinking about what can go wrong with the recruitment process. We all like to think we are reasonable employers, offering a fair package in return for a professional job. Yet, we do operate in a market that is prone to certain complications. Think about it. We recruit mainly young teachers who travel a long way from their home and friends, perhaps to a country they don’t know anything about. There you are: already you can see how emotionally vulnerable they are. And if all this causes them stress, they could more easily fall prey to physical illness, infection, be more accident prone.
Look, I’m not trying to be the pessimist here but I think we have to face the fact that the health of teachers is an important issue. At least, I believe a responsible employer should have health-protection measures in place as part of the recruitment package. Ideally, we should offer full health insurance together with provision to repatriate a teacher who needs to be back home for treatment and support.
Now I know that for some small schools this could prove expensive but that’s no reason to duck the issue. If you genuinely can’t offer this kind of protection as part of the deal, think of the alternatives. First make sure you explain to the teacher the kind of healthcare they will be entitled to from any national scheme that protects those working in your country. Secondly, advise them to look at insurances that are available in their own country. Maybe they can find inexpensive insurance to cover them while they are working abroad. But please don’t ignore the issue. It is deeply unpleasant to find oneself sick or injured in a foreign country and if, on top of that, inadequate provisions exist for treatment and care. The whole situation can become a nightmare. We owe it to our teachers to ensure that they are fully aware of the risks they run and the protection that they can expect or should obtain.